Swimming helps lose weight, burn calories and puts little stress on your body.
Swimming is an ideal low-impact cardiovascular workout that burns high calories, builds stamina and endurance and uses all the major muscles in your body (upper and lower). Swimming can be more intense than running, if the strokes are performed correctly and at the right intensity.
Swimming is a full body workout and the major muscles help power you through the water, helping with strength as well as calorie burning. It can be a fun activity to attend with friends or perfect for going alone and relaxing. It has been proven to help you unwind, relieve stress and even minimise symptoms of depression.
There are a number of reasons swimming helps you lose weight, while providing a low impact workout. Swimming burns a significant number of calories while providing resistance training from the water. Additionally, swimming is excellent exercise for people who suffer from joint issues, because unlike high-impact exercise, swimming takes the pressure off your joints! And there are a variety of different swimming workouts and strokes you can do stay challenged and eliminate boredom.
How Swimming Improves Fitness
Swimming provides you with an aerobic workout similar to cycling or running. Yet due to the 12 to 14 percent increase in resistance from water compared to air, you also tone muscles while swimming without the need to use weights. Through the repetitive movements of a swim stroke, you also enhance joint flexibility while swimming, especially in the shoulders, hips, neck and core.
Swimming and Weight Loss
Swimming burns between 475 to 750 calories an hour for the 150-pound woman, depending on the stroke. Compare this to walking, which burns approximately 270 calories an hour, and swimming may help you lose weight faster than other activities. When you combine a 30- to 45-minute swimming workout with a healthy diet, you can achieve weight loss and increase muscle mass to give you a firm, lean, defined body.
Considered the most basic swimming stroke, the sidestroke is performed while lying sideways in the water. One arm is extended straight out above the shoulder. The arms are then alternated backward and forward. Simultaneously, you perform a scissor kick. A 150-pound person burns 544 calories an hour doing the sidestroke.
The front crawl, or freestyle, is the standard swimming stroke. In this stoke, you alternate overarm strokes while continuously flutter kicking your feet. You are face down in the water and breath by rotating your head from side-to-side. A 150-pound person burns 476 calories an hour doing the front crawl at a light pace and 680 calories an hour at a vigorous pace.
The backstroke is similar to the front crawl except that you float face up instead of face down. Again, you alternate overarm strokes while continuously flutter kicking. A 150-pound person burns 476 calories an hour doing the backstroke.
During the breaststroke, you begin with your palms touching and pulled into your chest. This should be similar to being in prayer. Extend arms simultaneously outward at shoulder height with palms facing down. Next, turn your palms outward and push in a semicircle motion until they return to the starting position. Begin with your legs extended behind you in a streamlined position. Bring your knees up, kick out and then return the legs to the streamline position, similar to a frog kick. A 150-pound person burns 680 calories an hour doing the breaststroke.